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This review is from: In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty (Hardcover)
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In the River They Swim is a collections of essays by local leaders in less developed countries. The concepts presented are varied, but all unite under the umbrella of brainstorming solutions for managing the massive problems inherent in any program that seeks to improve the conditions of society in the less developed regions of the world.
The essays are scholarly and well defined. They are written by experienced local people who understand the problems, the culture, and the barriers to progress. Many of the concepts appear new because previous publications on this topic have mostly focused on the point of view of well intentioned people in the developed world.
Several concepts are very interesting. First, several essays mention that "entrepreneurship" and "private sector" initiatives will work best. Most of these authors explain that charity from the developed world needs to support local initiatives rather that dictate solutions that emerge from outside opinions.
One author discusses the "cultural divide" that he must "ride" to function in an atmosphere of apparent cultural conflict. He sees challenges that divide people on the basis of culture, social status, generational differences and even accent. He also suggests that often the attitudes of the local elite hinder the development of new ideas.
Several authors emphasize that local firms must improve their competitiveness to be of assistance to the development of their society. In general wealth creation must be emphasized. In addition "mental walls", such as "all initiatives must come from the government", act as barriers to economic progress and must be eliminated.
In the River They Swim is a very different book. I enjoyed reading these essays. They reveal a picture of life in these countries that is very different from what I expected. I recommend these essays for anyone interested in learning about the less developed world.